Berwick, ND

McHenry County
Inhabited as of 5/10

Berwick is a near-ghost town in McHenry county near Towner, very much off the beaten path. During our visit to Berwick we talked to several people, including one gentleman who was using his weekend to fix up a local home with an affordable remedy we’ve been seeing a lot of lately — galvanized steel roofing.  He told us he’s trying to fix up as many as he can, and we were glad to hear it.

Berwick, ND

Berwick is near a historic site — St. Anselm’s Cemetery, Wrought-Iron Cross Site — which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.  We weren’t aware of it when we visited in 2010, but you can bet we’ll get some photos next time we’re in the area.

Berwick, ND

US Census Data for Berwick
Total Population by Place

1960 – 56
1970 – 33
1980 – 22
2000 – Does Not Appear

Berwick, ND


Berwick, ND

Berwick, ND

Berwick, ND

Berwick, ND

Berwick, ND

Berwick, ND

Berwick, ND

Berwick, ND

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

Berwick, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

39 Responses to “Berwick, ND”
  1. Daryn Rabbe says:

    Wow. Nice pics. …particularly the Church. Upon viewing all these terrific photos you guys share, i can’t help but wish America would have maintained our original agrarian-modeled economy. I think the Soviet- style subsidized corporate farming that came along with the industrial era was a turn in the wrong direction.

  2. James says:

    Wow! Early in the 80s my high school friend and I decided to spend one Saturday in the summer traveling from Minot to Devils Lake stopping in each and every town on the way. I remember Berwick with quite a few people. We also took a couple other routes doing the same thing. We should have taken pictures back then. :)

  3. Fairlane says:

    It’s interesting to see pictures of Berwick as I had family that lived there back in the days. I actually came across a postcard from the town in 1908 or so showing the Great Northern depot and grain elevators.

    • Katina says:

      the 2nd to last picture is the foundation of what used to be the depot, my great grandparents home.

      • Darlene Durand says:

        Katina, my grandmother, Mary Rognlien, had a house in Berwick and I went to 8th grade there in 1962. I remember working at the concession stand with Bruce Holmes during dances at the town hall. Would you happen to know what happened to my grandmother’s house or who owns any of the property in Berwick now? Thank you for any information.

        • Mary Loreno says:

          Interesting, I am named after Mary Rognlien from Berwick. She was my grandmother, too! My dad was James Michael Rognlien, died when I was 5 years old…never knew anyone from the Rognlien side. Let me introduce myself. I am Mary Mathilda Rognlien Loreno…:)

          • Darlene Durand says:

            Mary, I know exactly who you are!! I have a copy of your parent’s wedding picture. I was in the eighth grade and living with Grandma Mary in Berwick when your father James became ill. Grandma Mary, Grandpa Martin, Uncle John and Uncle Melvin drove to Minnesota to see him in the hospital but Grandma Mary didn’t make the trip again when your father passed. She was brokenhearted about losing her son. Her brother Tom passed from the same issues. I have heard a lot about what a great man your father was. he was always bigger than life to me. About 6 years ago, I went back to Towner to see Uncle John before he passed. I left on a Monday and he was gone on Tuesday. His son, Young John used to communicate but I haven’t heard from him for a while. My mother passed away 10 years ago. She was Cornelia, named after Grandma Mary’s mother, but Grandpa Martin nicknamed her “Peggy”. I have an extensive family history of the Dugan/Rognlien clan I would be happy to share with you. I sent a copy to Young John Rognlien and his sister Marlene Rognlien Marshall. I know some stories about the Rognlien kids when they were growing up…….hope to hear back from you.

          • Mary Loreno says:

            Thanks for getting back to me…I only knew Aunt Peggy as Aunt Peggy…didn’t know her name was Cornelia….I would love to get info about the Rognliens. I once heard that Peggy lived in Fargo for a while?

  4. Lisa says:

    I’ve been doing some genealogy lately and have discovered that I also have/had relatives that lived around Berwick – some were married in the Berwick church. Anyone know if the church pictured was Catholic or Lutheran? My relatives were German-Russian Catholics. Interesting what they used to “fix-up” buildings in the 1930s-40s, re: the building with the asphalt shingle-type siding nailed to the old clapboard.

    • Sherry (DIRK) Kendrick says:

      interesting! my great grandpas family is german-russian as well and settled there then moved to fox valley sask! our last name is Dirk….. any relation??

  5. Sunny says:

    This was a Lutheran church. I haven’t seen it in so many years. Would love to know if there are any pictures of the inside and also if it is ever used anymore.

    • Dustin says:

      The church has been closed down for nearly 10+ years. I have some old photos from the inside. I was baptized there…..

    • Koreen Bryn says:

      I live just north of Berwick and my husband belonged to that church!! A lady from Rugby now owns the church and it is falling apart! My mother-in-law has pictures of when the church was going. Hope that helps! Koreen Bryn

    • Mandy says:

      I lived across the street from the church about 19 years ago. My grandma continued to drive to church there even after she moved to Rugby until it closed. I have a book from I’m going to guess about 11 years ago that they put out with pictures of the church and all of the members and their families. I know where it is I just have to get it.

  6. Howard says:

    I’m curious….at all these places you visit, do you ever notice that abandoned buildings are taken over by wildlife? I’m thinking that any number of possums, racoons, skunks, foxes, or even feral cats, etc., would use them as shelter, at least if no one is keeping them out.

  7. Sunny says:

    I would love any photos you have of the church, inside and out!

  8. Robyn says:

    I used to go to bible school there, was a wonderful church full of alot of wonderful people. I miss the days of playing baseball there!

  9. Pete Kuhn says:

    Picture # 2
    The brick building on the left was the bar, and the two story building on the right had the post office in the front half of the lower floor. The back half and the whole upper story was the residence of the Ebell family. Mrs. Ebell was the postmaster.
    Picture # 8
    This is a close-up of the main entrance to the town hall which was used for everything from meetings, to basketball games, dances, etc.
    Picture #11
    This is a close-up of the post office and the Ebell residence which was also in Picture #2.

  10. Steve Kreitz says:

    I have pictures and post cards,with lots of communications from Aunt Fronie Wolff to my grandfather Charlie Kreitz in Rosemount MN. They date from about 1905 to 1920.I have a
    picture of their homestead shack. I will be commimg out there in September to do some family
    history research. in Bismark and Berwick. I also have great picture Aunt Mary in front of the
    dinner and the Berwick Dray line that Uncle Frank drove,

    • tom kreitz says:

      Hi,back home after knee replacment,still can not find photo of Fronie and the gang

    • sterling taylor says:

      Since my great grandfather Alexander and my grandfather Smith lived near Berwick during that time period no doubt they knew your aunt Fronie. Any mention of my family in those letters that you can recall?

  11. overrailing says:

    My great-grandma Ann (Eikeness) LeFavor was born there. My parents & I visited several years ago to look around & do some genealogy research. The lady at the county courthouse told us they once had a girls basketball team. Amazing seeing how empty it now is.

    Does anyone know where the church records went? I didn’t find much for records at the courthouse until the 20s & 30s. My great-grandma was born in 1904 to Swen & Hilda (Linto) Eikeness. I’ve never found solid dates for her siblings. Just approximations from census records.

  12. bill says:

    Hope the knee is doing well take care Bill

  13. was out there last week still looks the same as these pics

  14. monabroad says:

    My uncle John Brossart and aunt Rosie (Kuntz) Brossart lived in Berwick for many years. Uncle John had a garage there where he fixed many vehicles and farm implements. He also “invented” a few pieces of farm machinery too — that is, he’d put a few things together and voila! I remember that my Aunt Rosie used to walk out to the fields with her four or five cows and watch them while they ate, then take them home to milk. They lived a good life there.

    • rose -brossart-snyder says:

      My uncle John Brossart (my father Bennie was his brother) and aunt Rosie I remember them when we would go to visit. My uncle Johnny had a dog named Dirty Dog. and yes he did much mechanical work. I miss those days

    • Dee says:

      I remember Rosie & Johnie,
      I believe the car pictured is one of his.

  15. Yvonne Kossan Jenkins says:

    Hi. Loved this site. Thank you. I have scant information that my father told me. His records. all burned in the Orrin church that was struck by lightning 2 times over the years. 3 generations spent most of their lives in McHenry county. Can anyone give me information on “Fulda?” Dad said it was a brick church. He called it an inland country church south of Berwick. Probably Catholic.

    • Kurtis Klein says:

      Fulda was a Catholic Church, It was used to about a dozen years ago. They used the same priest as Balta and Orrin and had an alternating schudule of worship with those Churches. It should be still standing south of Highway 2 a couple miles.

    • Kevin says:

      St. Anselm’s Catholic Church (aka “Fulda) is no longer operational (closed by the diocese around 2000 or 2001) but still stands. It is on 19th Ave NE about 0.5 miles south of 59th St NE. The north-south road on which it sits runs just east of Berwick. The church is a brick building that was constructed in 1947 if I remember correctly.

    • Jeane Vinje says:

      Fulda is located about 4 miles south from milemarker 101 (used to be a rest area for many years) west of Rugby 9 miles. The church, St. Anselm’s (catholic), is still standing but the parish house was sold many years ago. I remember Father Lipond (spelling?) when I was quite young and I loved Father Tuchscherer (spelling?). My parents (Kasper & Gladys) missed church one Sunday and Father T drove to our house for lunch to make sure we were ok and to find out why we missed. Needless to say, we didn’t miss church again.

  16. Franni says:

    Cool! I was just through Berwick in July 2012 and took about 50 photos. Not too much change from the above other than that the sign on the side of the bar is gone, and the town hall has extra boards nailed on the front.

  17. Lori says:

    8/23/12 To overrailing: Yes, the town did have a girl’s basketball team all the years I attended school there. I played on the team until the high school closed in 1960. My husband & I held our wedding dance in the town hall in 1962. One of the abandoned houses pictured belonged to our school principal, Oliver Finstad. From: Lori

  18. Les says:

    The house that has all the windows on the east side, and then farther down the pics you see the west side of the house was my Grandfather Grove’s home. I spent many hours in Berwick as a kid. One of my Aunts taught school and my Grandfather ran one of the grain elevators. I spent many Friday nites roller skating in the town hall.
    I can remember going to church on Christmas eve in that church.

  19. Berta Rose says:

    I rang the bell for the last time when I was 15. I’m now 26 and still miss going to church there.

  20. Darlene Durand says:

    I went to school in Berwick in 1960 (8th grade) Mr. Finstad was the teacher. My grandmother, Mary Dugan Rognlien had a house in Berwick. It was a 2-story house not too far from the post office. Does any one remember the house or know what happened to it? I remember the Brossarts and I think the Haman family had the bar on the other side of the highway.

  21. Caren Ramsey Flaten says:

    I spent many summer and holidays in Berwick with my grandparents Oliver and Agnes Finstad. Some of my warmest memories involved special people of this little town. I drove through the town this summer on a visit to North Dakota and was overwhelmed with feelings and memories as I viewed the few buildings that were left. Sadly the school is gone and the Odden home where my best friend Denise lived but other places still stood. What is the ghost connection? Caren Ramsey Flaten

  22. Joanne Peterson Kenzy says:

    I lived in Berwick 1944 to 1957. Ruth and Ole Peterson (parents) Johnnie, Norma, Marlys & me. Marlys and I played on that wonderful girls basketball team. We danced in that old hall. My brother Johnnie, now 82 recently married Mary Lou Smith Odden and they live in Spokane, Wa. The last time I was there, we left infested with ticks from the lilac bushes. I remember Johnnie Rognlien riding his horse into town and the girls swooning as he passed by. Knew Carol Finstead & her brother Lee. Went to school with the Ebel’s, Groves, Knutsons, Smith’s,
    Flageols, Wolf’s, MacGregors, Hillman, Fylkin not to mention all those in the near country. Even a Crazy Miller?
    I am a story poem writer and have several with roots in Berwick. Happy to share
    Vivian Grove was my 1st teacher. We too spent years of church & Sunday school in that church. Joanne Kenzy

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